Cacatua sanguinea – Little Corella

All photos on this page are Copyright © Murray Hubbard - see  more of his photos at Instagram @birdsofaussie

Little Corella - Cacatua sanguinea (Gould, 1843) - is a small white cockatoo.

It is widespread in most of Australia, where they can be seen in large flocks with thousands of birds (a flock with an estimated 60-70.000 birds has been reported). They are often seen in flocks together with other birds like the Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii).

Despite their small size compared to other cockatoos, their calling can be very loud - especially when flying in large flocks, where the noise can be heard several kilometers away!

They roost in trees overnight and fly off early in the morning seeking food; they can travel several kilometers seeking food before returning to their roosting area.

They are very playful and can hang upside-down or roll on their backs when playing; they are also very noisy when playing.

Lifespan: 50-80 years.

They are rare in aviculture as they are not exported from Australia; only the subspecies C.s. normantoni from New Guinea is sometimes exported.


Small white cockatoo with small white crest, that is usually lying down flat on the head but raised when the bird is agitated or exited. Yellow underside of wings and tail. The grey-blue eye-ring extends into an area with naked skin below the eye. The eyes are dark brown. Small pink/orange lores (patch between the eyes and the beak). The legs are dark grey.

Both sexes have similar colors; however the female is smaller and also has a smaller eye-ring. Juveniles are similar to adults except for the subspecies C.s. sanguinea where juveniles has a paler blue eye-ring and grey/pink naked skin under the eye.

Size: 35-41 cm
Weight: about 350-630 g.

Little Corella look similar to the other corellas and are often confused, but the size of the bill and crest and also the red coloration on lores and breast distinguish these species:

  • Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) has the largest bill; the head is also larger but the crest is much shorter than the other two species. The red area on the lores continue over the eye. The red patch on the throat is wider and look like a "cut throat".
  • Western Corella (Cacatua pastinator) has a large bill but smaller than Long-billed Corella. The crest is much longer than the Long-billed Corella. The red area on the lores is just a small patch between the eye and bill. The red patch on the throat is much smaller than on Long-billed Corella and may be barely visible on some birds.
  • Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) The bill is much smaller and the upper and lower mandibles are of similar length. The crest is slightly shorter than Western Corella but larger than the Long-billed Corella. The red coloration of throat is missing. The red area on the lores is smaller and a paler red color.


  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua


  • Danish: Nøgenøjet Kakadu
  • English: Little Corella
  • French: Cacatoès à oeil nu, Cacatoès corella
  • German: Nacktaugenkakadu
  • Portuguese: Cacatua-corella-pequena
  • Spanish: Cacatúa Sanguínea

IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Version 2017-3. <>.
Downloaded on 19 March 2018.

Little Corella love to fool around by hanging upside-down.


Notice the yellow color under the wings

Geographic Range

Little Corella is endemic to Australia, where they are wide spread over most of Australia; the subspecie Cacatua sanguinea transfreta is endemic to New guinea.

They are native to a large habitat that ranges from the eastern coastal plains to the arid deserts of central Australia.



Five subspecies are recognized:

Cacatua sanguinea sanguinea (Gould, 1843)

  • North-western Western Australia and Northern Territory. Also found on some of the larger offshore islands.
  • Nominate species; colors as described above.

Cacatua sanguinea gymnopis (Sclater, PL, 1871)

  • Central and east-central Australia. Has been introduced to Tasmania. Also populations in urban areas.
  • The eye-rings has a darker blue color; more pink/orange on lores and bases of head feathers.

Cacatua sanguinea normantoni (Mathews, 1917)

  • North-eastern Australia; western Cape York Peninsula.
  • Similar to the nominate form but smaller in size.

Cacatua sanguinea transfreta (Mees, 1982)

  • Lowlands of southern New Guinea
  • Similar to C.s. normantoni but underwings and undertail are washed with yellow/brown.

Cacatua sanguinea westralensis (Mathews, 1917)

  • Western Australia; Murchison River region.
  • Similar to C.s. gymnopis, but with brighter orange/red color on lores; underwings and undertail has a deep yellow tint.

When agitated, the crest is raised and they may also scream very loud to warn you off.


The diet consist of various seeds, corn, nuts, fruits, berries, buds, flowers, roots, wood-boring larvae and insects.

The food is usually found and consumed on the ground, but they also feed in trees and shrubs on occasion.

They also feed on cultivated crops and is considered an agricultural pest in some areas.

Little Corella is also found in urban areas, where they feed on lawn grasses.


The nest is typically in a tree hollows but they are also known to use a cliff cavity or termite mound. The nest is often reused several times.

Little Corella are gregarious and like to nest in colonies with other breeding pairs and it is not unusual to see several nests in the same three. The male and female form a very close and lifelong bond.

Little Corella is relatively easy to breed in captivity. The aviary should be at least 3 m long. The birds should be provided with lots of bird-safe chew toys and branches.

The nesting box should be 30 x 30 x 60 cm; alternatively a one meter long log with an internal diameter of 35 cm can be used.

The clutch usually contains 2 eggs, that are incubated for about 21-26 days. The chicks leave the nest about 45 - 50 days after hatching.

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